There's no shortage of smartphone camera accessory lenses out there. But when a respected lens manufacturer like Zeiss joins the market, it's worth taking notice. The firm has used CES to announce that in partnership with ExoLens, it will launch three high-performance iPhone lenses this year.
The lenses will include a wide-angle, a telephoto and a macro, and will all mount to iPhones via a screw thread on an ExoLens machined aluminum bracket. All of the lenses also incorporate the Zeiss T* antireflective coating, which helps to minimize reflections and improves the transmission of light.
Zeiss says that the 0.6x wide angle (giving a 18-mm equivalent) and 2x telephoto (56-mm equivalent) use an afocal optical design, which is different to traditional interchangeable lenses for system cameras. This means the lenses themselves are focused at infinity, with the smartphone camera responsible for focusing. Both optics are said to offer edge-to-edge contrast, and feature aspheric lenses.
Meanwhile, the macro lens will offer a useful continuous zoom function giving a 40-80-mm equivalent, and letting users fill the frame with subjects with diameters of between 3-12 cm (1.2 to 4.7 in). An optionally attachable and semi-transparent diffusor serves as a spacer which allows light to shine evenly on the object and enables convenient focusing.
At launch (expected to be late Q2) the ExoLens with optics by Zeiss will be available for iPhone 6/6s and iPhone 6 Plus/6s Plus, though more devices (and more lenses) could be added in the future. There's no word yet on price.